France: Haute Maurienne - paulsmit
'Sculptor of the devil.’

Already for centuries Bessans is a centre of religious wood carving. But only from the 19th century on the main subject became the devil. It's because a greedy pastor didn't fulfill his promice to offer the villagers a free meal once a year. So a local woodcutter sculpted a devil and, one night, put it in the window of the pastor. Ofcourse the pastor realized who had played a trick on him and put the devil in the window of the culprit. For a month the wood carving went back and forth, until the artist left it in his own window. By that time Bessans had become known for its devil and the new wood carving orders flowed in. Today this tradition is continued by sculptor Fabrice Personnaz, who has his atelier "Le Chapoteur" in Bessans. Photo Paul Smit.